A popular — and burgeoning — DFW city, Allen retired its sleepy-little-town status some time ago. Current population figures hover in the 100,000 range, representing a somewhat staggering growth rate of 436 percent since 2000.
Beyond the appeal of its attractive affluent neighborhoods and low teacher-student ratios, new residents may wish for an inside track to some of the city’s treasures and where there’s fun to be had. So here are a few fun facts and features that lend credence to Allen’s reputation for “awesomeness.”
Besides 30 community and neighborhood parks, Allen makes getting outdoors in nature a breeze with a nature preserve, two regional parks, five sports complexes, and more that 60 miles of hike and bike trails – with many tracing area creeks.
Spanning 23-plus acres, Dayspring Nature Preserve is a heavily wooded greenbelt park by Watters Branch Creek. Its hike and bike trails take in the scenery and provide direct access to the City of Allen’s trail system in addition to the Six Cities Trail, a plan linking the cities of Garland, Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney and Frisco (622 Rainforest Ln.; 214-509-4700)
Also in Allen is the Connemara Meadow Nature Trail, a local treasure situated within a 72-acre natural habitat preserve reminiscent of the tall grass Blackland Prairie that once covered 20 million acres in Texas. On family land set aside by Frances Williams in 1981, it is owned and maintained by the Connemara Conservancy Foundation, which hosts outdoor sculpture exhibits, concerts and nature walk programs year-round. (214–351-0990; ConnemaraConservancy.org)
For more outdoor opportunities, The Trails at the Woods spans 68 acres and includes 10 hike and bike trails (1424 Rollins Drive), and Bethany Lakes Park is a favorite with the locals, drawing visitors throughout the seasons with four ponds and a fishing pier as well a nine-hole, disc golf course. (745 S. Allen Heights Drive)
Arts On Your Doorstep
Culture is always close at hand in Allen, courtesy of the Allen Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus which presents a full season of concerts, with some featuring famous guest artists. (972-359-0656; allenphilharmonic.org)
In addition, the Allen Civic Ballet features its own performance of The Nutcracker each December and hosts an annual Fete des Beaux Arts every spring (602 E. Main Street; 972-727-5959; AllenCivicBallet.org). And
Allen’s Community Theatre maintains a year-round schedule of performances ranging from children’s productions to comedies. (1210 E. Main St.; 844-822-8849; allenscommunitytheatre.net)
No Time For Couch Potatoes
An ice rink and a natatorium are just the tip of the iceberg regarding Allen’s family-friendly recreational offerings. Attached to Allen Event Center, the Allen Community Ice Rink is full-sized and has spectator seating for 300. 200 E. Stacy Rd.; 972-912-1097) Meanwhile, the Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium offers 13,000 square feet of aquatic fun, including a fume slide and lazy river. (110 Rivercrest Blvd.; 214-509-4770)
A citywide park, Allen Station Park is a hub of for athleticism. Besides its mix of trails and baseball and softball fields, it is home to The Edge, one of the state’s largest extreme sports venues. This 37,915-square-foot concrete skate park includes two roller hockey rinks and a BMX track. (201 St. Mary Dr.; 214.509.4760) And in the southeast part of the park, the city has partnered with America’s Cable Park Group to build Hydrous Wake Park, a state-of-the-art wakeboard park equipped with two beginner systems and shaded beach areas. (214.390.3088; hydrouswakeparks.com)